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23 September, 2018 12:31:25 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 23 September, 2018 11:48:42 AM

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Form poll-time neutral govt, reconstitute EC by Sept 30

Jatiya Oikya Prakriya asks govt as top BNP leaders join citizens’ rally
STAFF REPORTER
Form poll-time neutral govt, reconstitute EC by Sept 30
Leaders of different political parties raise their hands in unison at Mahanagar Natya Mancha in the capital yesterday as they come under a single platform, Jatiya Oikya Prakriya, to push for their three-point charter of demands including formation of a poll-time neutral government by September 30. Independent Photo

Jatiya Oikya Prakriya (National Unity Process), led by eminent jurist Dr Kamal Hossain, yesterday adopted a declaration demanding the formation of an election-time neutral government and reconstitution of the Election Commission (EC) by September 30 this year by initiating talks with political parties. The declaration also demanded effective measures to create a congenial atmosphere to hold a free and fair election and the dissolution of the present parliament before the announcement of the election schedule.

The declaration was made from a citizens’ rally in the city with the participation of top leaders of major opposition parties both from the right and the left blocs and members of civil society.

After the announcement of the two-page declaration, Dr Kamal Hossain, who presided over the rally along with Bikalpa Dhara president Prof Dr AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, president of the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal ASM Abdur Rab, convenor of Nagorik Oikya Mahmudur Rahman Manna, founder of Ganasastha Kendra Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury and former adviser to the caretaker government Barrister Moinul Hosein, among others, raised their hands together, expressing their support to the declaration.

The much-talked-about greater national unity has almost taken a final shape with the announcement of the declaration from the citizens’ rally held at Mohanagar Nattya Mancha in the afternoon.

The greater national unity has been formed at a crucial moment, a few months ahead of the 11th parliamentary poll, as the major opposition parties are demanding the holding of the election under a neutral government, while the government has made it clear that it would be held in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution that did not provide for such an arrangement.

The declaration read out by convenor of Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources Protection National Commission Engr Shahidul Islam also demanded the government ensure the legal rights of imprisoned former prime minister Khaleda Zia, release all political leaders and those arrested for leading the quota reform movement and agitation for safe roads.

From now on, leaders and activists of no political party must be arrested till the completion of the next general elections, said the declaration.

The declaration called upon all political parties, individuals and people irrespective of calls and professions who believe in sprit of the war of liberation to forge committees of greater national unity at each district, upazila, union and ward levels and continue united movement in a democratic and peaceful manner until the realization of the demands.

The declaration said the national leaders of the greater national unity would join rallies and public meetings

across the country from October 1. The declaration expressed the solidarity with the five-point demands and nine-point aims declared on September 15 by the Dr Kamal Hossain-led national unity process and Dr Badruddoza Chowdhury-led three-party Jukta Front for holding the elections in a free, fair and acceptable manner as per the desire of the people.

The declaration termed person and a coterie-based rule and massive corruption ignoring the Constitution, effective democracy, rule of law and neutral application of law to be the main causes of the current political crises in the country.

“Our national unity aims will be not only sending a party or alliance to power by removing a party or alliance…Brining timely reformation in the legislature, administration and judiciary to ensure equal opportunity, welfare-oriented economy and political empowerment of the people will be the objective of our national greater unity,” said the declaration.

The Nattya Mancha auditorium and its adjacent areas were filled with leaders and activists of different political parties as the rally began at 3:00pm with the playing of the inaugural song “Amader Najjo Odhikar Joto, amader firiye dao (Return us, all of our just rights).

In his speech, Dr Kamal Hossain said he was trying to forge a greater national unity aiming to ensure effective democracy, rule of law and neutral application of the law through the restoration of people’s fundamental rights including their voting rights, human rights, and constitutional rights.

“The people have given a massive response to it. The people are united on fundamental issues. Time has come to for likeminded parties to get united. I believe that we will succeed, inshallah,” he said. He said that some people were smelling conspiracy in the national unity move but, he said, they were holding an open rally, not a secret meeting.

“Those afraid of people’s force are undermining the national unity move by terming it a conspiracy,” he observed. He alleged that, in the name of development, the country’s wealth was being plundered freely and people’s money wasted in the name of mega projects.

“I do not need anything for myself. As a political activist, it is my sacred responsibility to ensure people empowerment in accordance with the Constitution,” he said. Prof Badruddoza Chowdhury warned that the government that had come when the people would seek reply from the government about its “misrules, misdeeds, killings, enforced disappearances”.

Criticizing the government for not giving permission to political parties for holding rallies, he questioned the reason for such permissions in an independent country.

“We will hold a rally without caring for the permission,” he cautioned. He called upon all the democratic parties to get united, saying that it was time to resist the government. He also asked the government to scrap the plan of using EVMs in polls and install CCTV cameras at polling centres instead.

BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, who led the BNP delegation, urged Dr Kamal Hossain and Prof Dr Badruddoza Chowdhury to take forward the unity, saying they were with them. He said the greater national unity had to be forged at any cost to eradicate misrule.

The BNP leader put emphasis on the need to form a national unity government to protect the country’s independence and sovereignty.

He reiterated the party demand for resignation of the Prime Minister and dissolution of parliament before the announcement of the poll schedule, formation of a neutral government, reconstitution of EC and army deployment during the polls. Mirza Alamgir called upon the unity leaders to launch a movement taking the people with them on the basis of a minimum programme.

He described the citizens’ rally as moving one step ahead for the sake of greater national unity. BNP standing committee members Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Barrister Moudud Ahmed and Dr Abdul Moin Khan, Barrister Moinul Hosein, Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, president of Supreme Court Bar Association Joynul Abedin, ASM Abdur Rab, Mahmudur Rahman Manna, Jonayed Al Saki of Gano Sanghati Andolon, among others, also spoke on the occasion.


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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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